Not all who wander are lost

Tag: death (Page 1 of 2)

Silence like a cancer grows

One week ago today, my sister died.

My nephew called me about this time last week to tell me she had passed that morning.

Apparently she had avoided seeing a doctor for long enough, in spite of repeated complaints of feeling unwell and in pain, that when she finally did get nagged into seeing a physician, she was diagnosed with late stage lung cancer. She was dead within six weeks.

All of this came as a real shock to me because I didn’t know she was sick. Or at least, I didn’t know she was that sick.
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Somehow you’ve got everybody fooled

post-abortion

A long time ago — long, long before I ever entered the Crucible, never mind getting Beyond it — I had an abortion.

In fact, I had two of them.

Now, before you leap to any conclusions here … I wasn’t raped (at least, not then). My life wasn’t in danger. I don’t actually know whether the fetus was in any danger or not. I wasn’t particularly young and I wasn’t even unmarried at the time (for the record, I have never been impregnated by a man I wasn’t married to and I’ve only been married once).

I had those abortions very simply because I found myself pregnant with a baby I wasn’t ready for yet.

It was not in the least bit difficult a decision for me to make. I didn’t agonize over it at all. In fact, I didn’t lose an instant of sleep over it. I don’t ordinarily talk about them much because I’m not into being deliberately offensive and besides, it’s really not anybody’s business. On the other hand, I’m not going to pretend, for the sake of some pro-lifer’s sensibilities, that those abortions were hard for me to choose. They weren’t.
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The long and lonely night has just begun

good-life-toon

I’m going to die one of these days.

I had successfully ignored that fact for a large chunk of my life. Then two things happened that made it impossible for me to ignore it anymore.

First, a little less than thirty years ago, I started having babies. Once that happened, I realized that I wasn’t allowed to die until my children don’t need me anymore. Now, of course, my children and I might disagree as to what “when they don’t need me anymore” actually means but that was my thought. Now, this year, my youngest will turn 18 — and I think we’ve hit that point. I think they could survive without me now.

So, according to that lone criteria, I can die now.

The other thing that happened, about 20 years ago, was that my own mother died. Once your parent dies, mortality kind of kicks you in the face … or it had that effect on me, anyway. My sense that I was safe because my parents stood between me and the Grim Reaper has no basis in reality, of course. Plenty of people outlive their children, for a variety of reasons. I didn’t even know that irrational idea was there until my mom died. But, however it was, her death made me stop and think about the fact that one of these days I, too, was going to shuffle off this mortal coil.

I thought about it … and then I forgot about it. After all, I was only 35.

Fast forward to now … and I find myself thinking about my mortality a bit more often these days. Not in any kind of morbid way but I’m thinking that, at this point, I’m probably closer to my death than I am to my birth. I don’t feel like I’m running out of time — I’ve still got quite a bit of kick left in me, I think — but I do feel, as I put it to Gina, that I am approaching the sunset of my life. And I have some thoughts about that.
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Give me a reason to believe that you’re gone

grim-reaper

I am in a state of shock.

One of the things that happens when you work for a county-level public benefit agency is that you end up working with a bunch of public officials. One of those public officials, the mayor of Oneonta (the city that I live in) died over the weekend of an apparently self-inflicted gunshot wound to the head.

Everybody in my office is wandering around, reeling from the news. And I haven’t gotten a decent night’s sleep since it happened.

I don’t know why. Mayor Miller was a great guy and he was very welcoming and encouraging when I graduated from Hartwick and started working here. He knew a bunch of my professors because he used to be president of the college before he ran for mayor. He lived right across the street from David, the current chair of the Anthropology Department. I worked with him quite a bit but I didn’t really know him all that well. At least, not beyond his very public face.
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You are a child of the universe

photo Gina was writing about a new spiritual and physical path recently, and that got me to thinking.

Almost everything gets me to thinking. You’ll get used to it.

She described it like this: “It’s a way to achieve self-healing, inner peace, and happiness. I’m still learning, but I already want to start working on opening my chakras. To do that I need to learn how to meditate. I think practicing yoga will help me towards that as well, teach me how to internally calm myself. Ultimately, I want to reach a peak of spiritual strength. By that point, I’ll have faced and conquered my demons, and have conquered my past traumas. I won’t be held back by them anymore.”

And that made me pause to wonder: what do people look for when they decide to head down the spiritual path?
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